Chess playing computers are good at several things. They are superb at tactics, discover hidden resources if being attacked, find checkmates, and they don’t get tired.
Earlier today it was reported on chess.com that LCO (LeelaChessZero) won the Chess.com Computer Chess Championship. LCO is a different type of chess playing computer. It does not rely on brute strength, nor a large opening base. Instead, the program is instructed to learn from its mistakes from playing itself in thousands and thousands of games.
LC0 finished with a score of 167.5/300
Below are two games from the event.
Blitz Game (5/2)
CCC 7: Blitz Bonanza Final
Chess.com, Apr.6 2019
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 (Hiderland, back in 1970, showed how 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 loses to 5…d5! 6.Bxd5 Bb4+ 7.Kf1 Nf6 8.Qa4+ Nc6 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.Qxb4 Qd1+! 11.Qe1 Ba6+ 12.Ne2 Bxe2+ -+.) 4…Bc5 5.Bc4 d6 6.Nf3 Nf6 7.O-O O-O 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.Nd5 c6 (No player, carbon or silicon based, would want the White knight to remain on d5.) 10.Nxf6+ Nxf6 11.Qc2 Re8 12.Rfe1 Qc7 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Qd2 Kg7 15.b4 Bb6 16.Rad1 Be6 17.Bxe6 fxe6 18.Qxd6 Qxd6 19.Rxd6 Red8 20.Red1 (Not 20.Rxe6 because of 20…Kf7!) 20…Rxd6 21.Rxd6 Kf8 22.Kf1 a5 23.Rd7 axb4 24.Rxb7 Ra6 25.e5 fxe5 26.Ng5 h5 27.h4 Bd4 28.Nxe6+ Kg8 29.Rxb4 c5 30.Rb8+ Kf7 31.Nxd4 exd4 32.Rc8 Ra5 33.g4 hxg4 34.h5 Kg7 35.Rc6 Kh7 36.a4 d3 37.Ke1 Rxa4 38.Rxc5 Rd4 39.Rc6 d2+ 40.Kd1 Rf4 41.Kxd2 Rxf2+ (The game is completely even as both kings can’t capture the last pawn. Adjudicated as drawn.) 1/2-1/2
Blitz Game (5/2)
CCC 7: Blitz Bonanza Final
Chess.com, Apr. 6 2019
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qa5 7.Bd2 Qa4 8.h4 Ne7 9.Qg4!? (More usual is 9.Qb1) 9…Kf8 10.h5 h6 11.Rh3 [An interesting and short game was Frank B. Johnson (2191)-Benedict A. Smail (2120), PRO Chess League (Pacific), chess.com, Jan. 11 2017, which continued with 11.Qd1 Nbc6 12.Nf3 b6 13.Rh4 cxd4 14.Rb1 Ba6 15.Nxd4 Bc4 16.Bxc4 dxc4 17.Qf3 Rc8 18.Nxe6+ Kg8 19.Rg4 fxe6 20.Qf6 g5 21.Bxg5 Nxe5 22.Bxh6+ 1-0] 11…Nbc6 12.Qf4 b6 13.Rf3 Nd8 14.dxc5 Qxf4 15.Bxf4 bxc5 16.Be3 c4 17.Rh3 f6 18.f4 fxe5 19.fxe5 Nf7 20.Nf3 Nc6 21.Bf4 Ke7 22.Be2 [White has a slight advantage due to the better coordination of his pieces.] 22…Rg8 23.O-O-O Bd7 24.Nh4 Kd8 25.Ng6 a5 26.Rf1 Ne7 27.Bg4 Nxg6 28.hxg6 Nh8 29.Bh5 Kc7 30.Be3 Kc6 31.Rf7 a4 32.Rhf3 Nxf7 33.gxf7 Rh8 34.Bf2 Raf8 35.Bh4 g5 36.Bf2 Rh7 37.Bd4 Rhh8 38.Rf6 Kb5 39.Kd2 Kc6 40.Ke3 Kb5 41.Kf3 Kc6 42.Kg4 Bc8 43.Bg6 Bd7 44.Kh5 [White definitely has the advantage now thanks to his advanced pawn on f7. So how does he (it?) press the advantage?]
44…Kb5 45.g3 (Excellent! White just improves his position before starting any type of attack.) 45…Rb8 46.Rf1 Kc6 47.Rf6 Kb5 (Black does not mind repeating moves. But White is not going to let the win slip away with a draw.) 48.Rf1 Kc6 49.g4 Rbf8 50.Rb1 Ra8 51.Rb4 (White continues his to improve his position.) 51…Ra6 52.Bh7! Rf8 53.Kg6 Ra5 54.Rb6+! Kc7 55.Kg7 Raa8 [The win is (relatively) easy now.]
56.Bc5 Rfc8 57.Rd6 (Black’s rook wouldn’t mind moving to h8 and attempt to activate his kingside pawns with …h5, etc. But he can’t immediately move there; 57…Rh8? 58.Bg8! +-.) 57…Rcb8 58.Bg6 Rh8 59.Kf6 Rab8 60.Ra6 Rbc8 61.Ra7+ Kc6 62.Bd6 Rcd8 63.Rxa4 h5 64.gxh5 g4 65.Rb4 g3 66.Rb1 Bc8 67.Rg1 d4 68.Be4+ Kb5 69.a4+! Ka6 (Not 69…Kxa4? due to 70.Bc6+! Ka5 71.Bc5 threatening 72.Ra1#.) 70.Rxg3 d3 71.cxd3 Bd7 72.dxc4 Rc8 73.Rg7 Rcd8 74.c5 Rc8 75.Bd3+ Ka5 76.Rg4 Bc6 77.Rb4 Bd5 78.Rb6 Kxa4 79.c6 Bxc6 80.Rb4+ Ka3 81.Rb6+ Ka2 82.Bb1+ Ka1 83.Bg6 Bf3 84.c4 Ka2 85.Ra6+ Kb2 86.Rb6+ Kc3 87.c5 Ra8 88.c6 Rh6 89.Bb4+ Kd4 90.c7 Rhh8 91.Rd6+ Kc4 92.Rxe6 Kxb4 93.Rd6 Rhc8 94.e6 Kc5 95.Rd3 Be2 96.Rc3+ Kb4 97.Rc2 Bg4 98.e7
(An enviable position. Most players only dream about having three pawns on the seventh rank.) 98…Bd7 99.h6 (Shall we try for a fourth pawn on the seventh?) 99…Kb3 100.Rc5 Rh8 101.h7 (Got it!)
101…Rac8 102.Be4 Kb4 103.Rc1 Ka5 104.Ke5 Bg4 105.Ra1+ Kb6 106.Rb1+ Ka5 107.Rb7 Rce8 108.c8=Q [White doesn’t want to give Black any counterplay (after …Rxe7+), even if it would cost him a queen or two. Still, it seems that 108.Kf6 is better.] 108…Rxc8 109.f8=Q Rcxf8 110.exf8=Q Rxf8 111.Rg7 Re8+ 112.Kf6 Bc8 113.Rg8 Re6+ 114.Kg5 Rxe4 115.h8=Q Rg4+ 116.Kh5 Rxg8 117.Qxg8 Ba6 118.Qb3 Bf1 119.Qa2+ Kb4 120.Qb1+ Ka3 121.Qxf1 Kb4 (White has a forced mate, was not in time trouble with the 2 second delay, and yet Black plays on.) 122.Kg4 Kc5 123.Qd3 Kb4 124.Kf5 Kc5 125.Ke5 Kc6 126.Qd5+ Kc7 127.Qb5 Kd8 128.Kd6 Kc8 129.Qb3 Kd8 130.Qb8mate 1-0